Lawrence Nwimo, Awka
Lawmaker representing Awka South 1 Constituency at the Anambra State House of Assembly, Henry Mbachu, has won his case at the Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Awka, Anambra State capital.
Delivering its judgment in favour of Mbachu of the Labour Party (LP), the Tribunal struck out the petition against him for lack of merit.
The petition was filed by the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) candidate in the election for Awka South 1 Constituency, Chief Igwedinma Nwofor, seeking the disqualification of Mbachu.
The petitioner had alleged that Mbachu was not duly nominated by his party, and therefore was not qualified to contest for State House of Assembly Election of 18th March 2023.
The three-man panel of judges, led by Justice L.O Ogundana in a unanimous decision stated that the petitioner, Igwedinma Nwofor, had no locus to approach the tribunal to ask for the nullification of the candidacy of Hon. Mbachu, as the matter was solely a pre-election matter, and therefore an intra-party affair.
The court on those grounds struck out the petition for lack of merit, describing Nwofor’s efforts as mere academic exercise and waste of time.
The Tribunal ruled: “This is mere academic exercise and a waste of time of the court and lacks the jurisdiction to entertain same, as such matter ought to be filed at the Federal High Court and be done by the LP aspirant, and not APGA.
“For lack of jurisdiction and the locus standi, all the prayers were dead on arrival and waste of time of the hallowed chamber.”
While reacting to the outcome of the judgment, a senior counsel to Hon. Mbachu’s legal team, Nnamdi Anagor, noted that the judgment was clearly defined and should be upheld.
“The judgment today was expected because of the lack of eligiblity on the the part of the petitioners.
“The court held that the petitioners had no locus standi to contest the candidacy of the 1st respondent on the grounds that firstly, the 1st petitioner is not a member of the Labour Party and equally was not an aspirant during the primaries of the party that produced the 1st respondent as their candidate.
“Secondly, the Election Petition Tribunal is saddled only with post-election matters, not pre-election matters, as enshrined in S.284(2)(14) of our constitution as amended.
“And consequent upon these premises, the petitioner’s 2nd prayer to declare him, who came second as winner, was struck out by the Tribunal, which borders on jurisdiction,” Anagor said.
Reacting, Mbachu gave God the glory for his victory and thanked the electorate for the mandate given to him, hailing his legal team for a good work.